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Spatiotemporal changes in water, land use, and ecosystem services in Central Asia considering climate changes and human activities
YU Yang, CHEN Xi, Ireneusz MALIK, Malgorzata WISTUBA, CAO Yiguo, HOU Dongde, TA Zhijie, HE Jing, ZHANG Lingyun, YU Ruide, ZHANG Haiyan, SUN Lingxiao
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (9): 881-890.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0084-3
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Central Asia is located in the hinterland of Eurasia, comprising Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan; over 93.00% of the total area is dryland. Temperature rise and human activities have severe impacts on the fragile ecosystems. Since the 1970s, nearly half the great lakes in Central Asia have shrunk and rivers are drying rapidly owing to climate changes and human activities. Water shortage and ecological crisis have attracted extensive international attention. In general, ecosystem services in Central Asia are declining, particularly with respect to biodiversity, water, and soil conservation. Furthermore, the annual average temperature and annual precipitation in Central Asia increased by 0.30°C/decade and 6.9 mm/decade in recent decades, respectively. Temperature rise significantly affected glacier retreat in the Tianshan Mountains and Pamir Mountains, which may intensify water shortage in the 21st century. The increase in precipitation cannot counterbalance the aggravation of water shortage caused by the temperature rise and human activities in Central Asia. The population of Central Asia is growing gradually, and its economy is increasing steadily. Moreover, the agricultural land has not been expended in the last two decades. Thus, water and ecological crises, such as the Aral Sea shrinkage in the 21st century, cannot be attributed to agriculture extension any longer. Unbalanced regional development and water interception/transfer have led to the irrational exploitation of water resources in some watersheds, inducing downstream water shortage and ecological degradation. In addition, accelerated industrialization and urbanization have intensified this process. Therefore, all Central Asian countries must urgently reach a consensus and adopt common measures for water and ecological protection.

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Spatiotemporal changes of eco-environmental quality based on remote sensing-based ecological index in the Hotan Oasis, Xinjiang
YAO Kaixuan, Abudureheman HALIKE, CHEN Limei, WEI Qianqian
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 262-283.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0011-2
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The rapid economic development that the Hotan Oasis in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China has undergone in recent years may face some challenges in its ecological environment. Therefore, an analysis of the spatiotemporal changes in ecological environment of the Hotan Oasis is important for its sustainable development. First, we constructed an improved remote sensing-based ecological index (RSEI) in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform and implemented change detection for their spatial distribution. Second, we performed a spatial autocorrelation analysis on RSEI distribution map and used land-use and land-cover change (LUCC) data to analyze the reasons of RSEI changes. Finally, we investigated the applicability of improved RSEI to arid area. The results showed that mean of RSEI rose from 0.41 to 0.50, showing a slight upward trend. During the 30-a period, 2.66% of the regions improved significantly, 10.74% improved moderately and 32.21% improved slightly, respectively. The global Moran's I were 0.891, 0.889, 0.847 and 0.777 for 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2020, respectively, and the local indicators of spatial autocorrelation (LISA) distribution map showed that the high-high cluster was mainly distributed in the central part of the Hotan Oasis, and the low-low cluster was mainly distributed in the outer edge of the oasis. RSEI at the periphery of the oasis changes from low to high with time, with the fragmentation of RSEI distribution within the oasis increasing. Its distribution and changes are predominantly driven by anthropologic factors, including the expansion of artificial oasis into the desert, the replacement of desert ecosystems by farmland ecosystems, and the increase in the distribution of impervious surfaces. The improved RSEI can reflect the eco-environmental quality effectively of the oasis in arid area with relatively high applicability. The high efficiency exhibited with this approach makes it convenient for rapid, high frequency and macroscopic monitoring of eco-environmental quality in study area.

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Climate change impacts on the streamflow of Zarrineh River, Iran
Farhad YAZDANDOOST, Sogol MORADIAN
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (9): 891-904.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0091-4
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Zarrineh River is located in the northwest of Iran, providing more than 40% of the total inflow into the Lake Urmia that is one of the largest saltwater lakes on the earth. Lake Urmia is a highly endangered ecosystem on the brink of desiccation. This paper studied the impacts of climate change on the streamflow of Zarrineh River. The streamflow was simulated and projected for the period 1992-2050 through seven CMIP5 (coupled model intercomparison project phase 5) data series (namely, BCC-CSM1-1, BNU-ESM, CSIRO-Mk3-6-0, GFDL-ESM2G, IPSL-CM5A-LR, MIROC-ESM and MIROC-ESM-CHEM) under RCP2.6 (RCP, representative concentration pathways) and RCP8.5. The model data series were statistically downscaled and bias corrected using an artificial neural network (ANN) technique and a Gamma based quantile mapping bias correction method. The best model (CSIRO-Mk3-6-0) was chosen by the TOPSIS (technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution) method from seven CMIP5 models based on statistical indices. For simulation of streamflow, a rainfall-runoff model, the hydrologiska byrans vattenavdelning (HBV-Light) model, was utilized. Results on hydro-climatological changes in Zarrineh River basin showed that the mean daily precipitation is expected to decrease from 0.94 and 0.96 mm in 2015 to 0.65 and 0.68 mm in 2050 under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively. In the case of temperature, the numbers change from 12.33°C and 12.37°C in 2015 to 14.28°C and 14.32°C in 2050. Corresponding to these climate scenarios, this study projected a decrease of the annual streamflow of Zarrineh River by half from 2015 to 2050 as the results of climatic changes will lead to a decrease in the annual streamflow of Zarrineh River from 59.49 m3/s in 2015 to 22.61 and 23.19 m3/s in 2050. The finding is of important meaning for water resources planning purposes, management programs and strategies of the Lake's endangered ecosystem.

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Elevated CO2 increases shoot growth but not root growth and C:N:P stoichiometry of Suaeda aralocaspica plants
WANG Lei, FAN Lianlian, JIANG Li, TIAN Changyan
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (11): 1155-1162.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0025-1
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The purpose of the current study was to investigate the eco-physiological responses, in terms of growth and C:N:P stoichiometry of plants cultured from dimorphic seeds of a single-cell C4 annual Suaeda aralocaspica (Bunge) Freitag and Schütze under elevated CO2. A climatic chamber experiment was conducted to examine the effects of ambient (720 μg/L) and CO2-enriched (1440 μg/L) treatments on these responses in S. aralocaspica at vegetative and reproductive stages in 2012. Result showed that elevated CO2 significantly increased shoot dry weight, but decreased N:P ratio at both growth stages. Plants grown from dimorphic seeds did not exhibit significant differences in growth and C:N:P stoichiometric characteristics. The transition from vegetation to reproductive stage significantly increased shoot:root ratio, N and P contents, but decreased C:N, C:P and N:P ratios, and did not affect shoot dry weight. Moreover, our results indicate that the changes in N:P and C:N ratios between ambient and elevated CO2 are mainly caused by the decrease of N content under elevated CO2. These results provide an insight into nutritional metabolism of single-cell C4 plants under climate change.

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Effects of climate change and land use/cover change on the volume of the Qinghai Lake in China
WANG Hongwei, QI Yuan, LIAN Xihong, ZHANG Jinlong, YANG Rui, ZHANG Meiting
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 245-261.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0062-4
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Qinghai Lake is the largest saline lake in China. The change in the lake volume is an indicator of the variation in water resources and their response to climate change on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) in China. The present study quantitatively evaluated the effects of climate change and land use/cover change (LUCC) on the lake volume of the Qinghai Lake in China from 1958 to 2018, which is crucial for water resources management in the Qinghai Lake Basin. To explore the effects of climate change and LUCC on the Qinghai Lake volume, we analyzed the lake level observation data and multi-period land use/land cover (LULC) data by using an improved lake volume estimation method and Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST) model. Our results showed that the lake level decreased at the rate of 0.08 m/a from 1958 to 2004 and increased at the rate of 0.16 m/a from 2004 to 2018. The lake volume decreased by 105.40×108 m3 from 1958 to 2004, with the rate of 2.24×108 m3/a, whereas it increased by 74.02×108 m3 from 2004 to 2018, with the rate of 4.66×108 m3/a. Further, the climate of the Qinghai Lake Basin changed from warm-dry to warm-humid. From 1958 to 2018, the increase in precipitation and the decrease in evaporation controlled the change of the lake volume, which were the main climatic factors affecting the lake volume change. From 1977 to 2018, the measured water yield showed an "increase-decrease-increase" fluctuation in the Qinghai Lake Basin. The effects of climate change and LUCC on the measured water yield were obviously different. From 1977 to 2018, the contribution rate of LUCC was -0.76% and that of climate change was 100.76%; the corresponding rates were 8.57% and 91.43% from 1977 to 2004, respectively, and -4.25% and 104.25% from 2004 to 2018, respectively. Quantitative analysis of the effects and contribution rates of climate change and LUCC on the Qinghai Lake volume revealed the scientific significance of climate change and LUCC, as well as their individual and combined effects in the Qinghai Lake Basin and on the QTP. This study can contribute to the water resources management and regional sustainable development of the Qinghai Lake Basin.

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Modelling the biological invasion of Prosopis juliflora using geostatistical-based bioclimatic variables under climate change in arid zones of southwestern Iran
Mohadeseh AMIRI, Mosfata TARKESH, Mohammad SHAFIEZADEH
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 203-224.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0004-1
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Invasive species have been the focus of ecologists due to their undesired impacts on the environment. The extent and rapid increase in invasive plant species is recognized as a natural cause of global-biodiversity loss and degrading ecosystem services. Biological invasions can affect ecosystems across a wide spectrum of bioclimatic conditions. Understanding the impact of climate change on species invasion is crucial for sustainable biodiversity conservation. In this study, the possibility of mapping the distribution of invasive Prosopis juliflora (Swartz) DC. was shown using present background data in Khuzestan Province, Iran. After removing the spatial bias of background data by creating weighted sampling bias grids for the occurrence dataset, we applied six modelling algorithms (generalized additive model (GAM), classification tree analysis (CTA), random forest (RF), multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS), maximum entropy (MaxEnt) and ensemble model) to predict invasion distribution of the species under current and future climate conditions for both optimistic (RCP2.6) and pessimistic (RCP8.5) scenarios for the years 2050 and 2070, respectively. Predictor variables including weighted mean of CHELSA (climatologies at high resolution for the Earth's land surface areas)-bioclimatic variables and geostatistical-based bioclimatic variables (1979-2020), physiographic variables extracted from shuttle radar topography mission (SRTM) and some human factors were used in modelling process. To avoid causing a biased selection of predictors or model coefficients, we resolved the spatial autocorrelation of presence points and multi-collinearity of the predictors. As in a conventional receiver operating characteristic (ROC), the area under curve (AUC) is calculated using presence and absence observations to measure the probability and the two error components are weighted equally. All models were evaluated using partial ROC at different thresholds and other statistical indices derived from confusion matrix. Sensitivity analysis showed that mean diurnal range (Bio2) and annual precipitation (Bio12) explained more than 50%of the changes in the invasion distribution and played a pivotal role in mapping habitat suitability of P. juliflora. At all thresholds, the ensemble model showed a significant difference in comparison with single model. However, MaxEnt and RF outperformed the others models. Under climate change scenarios, it is predicted that suitable areas for this invasive species will increase in Khuzestan Province, and increasing climatically suitable areas for the species in future will facilitate its future distribution. These findings can support the conservation planning and management efforts in ecological engineering and be used in formulating preventive measures.

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Response of C:N:P in the plant-soil system and stoichiometric homeostasis of Nitraria tangutorum leaves in the oasis-desert ecotone, Northwest China
WEI Yajuan, DANG Xiaohong, WANG Ji, GAO Junliang, GAO Yan
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (9): 934-946.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0019-z
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Nitraria tangutorum nebkhas are widely distributed in the arid and semi-arid desert areas of China. The formation and development of N. tangutorum nebkhas are the result of the interaction between vegetation and the surrounding environment in the process of community succession. Different successional stages of N. tangutorum nebkhas result in differences in the community structure and composition, thereby strongly affecting the distribution of soil nutrients and ecosystem stability. However, the ecological stoichiometry of N. tangutorum nebkhas in different successional stages remains poorly understood. Understanding the stoichiometric homeostasis of N. tangutorum could provide insights into its adaptability to the arid and semi-arid desert environments. Therefore, we analyzed the stoichiometric characteristics of N. tangutorum in four successional stages, i.e., rudimental, developing, stabilizing, and degrading stages using a homeostasis model in an oasis-desert ecotone of Northwest China. The results showed that soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) contents and their ratios in the 0-100 cm soil depth were significantly lower than the averages at regional and global scales and were weakly influenced by successional stages in the oasis-desert ecotone. TN and TP contents and C:N:P in the soil showed similar trends. Total carbon (TC) and TN contents in leaves were 450.69-481.07 and 19.72-29.35 g/kg, respectively, indicating that leaves of N. tangutorum shrubs had a high storage capacity for C and N. Leaf TC and TN contents and N:P ratio increased from the rudimental stage to the stabilizing stage and then decreased in the degrading stage, while the reverse trend was found for leaf C:N. Leaf TP content decreased from the rudimental stage to the degrading stage and changed significantly in late successional stages. N:P ratio was above the theoretical limit of 14, indicating that the growth of N. tangutorum shrubs was limited by P during successional stages. Leaf N, P, and N:P homeostasis in four successional stages was identified as ''strictly homeostasis''. Redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that soil acidity (pH) and the maximum water holding capacity were the main factors affecting C:N:P stoichiometric characteristics in N. tangutorum leaves. Our study demonstrated that N. tangutorum with a high degree of stoichiometric homeostasis could better cope with the arid desert environment.

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Predicting of dust storm source by combining remote sensing, statistic-based predictive models and game theory in the Sistan watershed, southwestern Asia
Mahdi BOROUGHANI, Sima POURHASHEMI, Hamid GHOLAMI, Dimitris G KASKAOUTIS
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (11): 1103-1121.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0023-3
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Dust storms in arid and desert areas affect radiation budget, air quality, visibility, enzymatic activities, agricultural products and human health. Due to increased drought and land use changes in recent years, the frequency of dust storms occurrence in Iran has been increased. This study aims to identify dust source areas in the Sistan watershed (Iran-Afghanistan borders)-an important regional source for dust storms in southwestern Asia, using remote sensing (RS) and bivariate statistical models. Furthermore, this study determines the relative importance of factors controlling dust emissions using frequency ratio (FR) and weights of evidence (WOE) models and interpretability of predictive models using game theory. For this purpose, we identified 211 dust sources in the study area and generated a dust source distribution map-inventory map-by dust source potential index based on RS data. In addition, spatial maps of topographic factors affecting dust source areas including soil, lithology, slope, Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), geomorphology and land use were prepared. The performance of two models (WOE and FR) was evaluated using the area under curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic curve. The results showed that soil, geomorphology and slope exhibited the greatest influence in the dust source areas. The 55.3% (according to FR) and 62.6% (according to WOE) of the total area were classified as high and very high potential dust sources, while both models displayed acceptable accuracy with subsurface levels of 0.704 for FR and 0.751 for WOE, although they predict different fractions of dust potential classes. Based on Shapley additive explanations (SHAP), three factors, i.e., soil, slope and NDVI have the highest impact on the model's output. Overall, combination of statistic-based predictive models (or data mining models), RS and game theory techniques can provide accurate maps of dust source areas in arid and semi-arid regions, which can be helpful for mitigation of negative effects of dust storms.

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Dieback intensity but not functional and taxonomic diversity indices predict forest productivity in different management conditions: Evidence from a semi-arid oak forest ecosystem
Mona KARAMI, Mehdi HEYDARI, Ali SHEYKHOLESLAMI, Majid ESHAGH NIMVARI, Reza OMIDIPOUR, YUAN Zuoqiang, Bernard PREVOSTO
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 225-244.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0006-z
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The relationships between different aspects of diversity (taxonomic, structural and functional) and the aboveground biomass (AGB) as a major component of global carbon balance have been studied extensively but rarely under the simultaneous influence of forest dieback and management. In this study, we investigate the relationships between taxonomic, functional and structural diversity of woody species (trees and shrubs) and AGB along a gradient of dieback intensity (low, moderate, high and no dieback as control) under two contrasted management conditions (protection by central government vs. traditional management by natives) in a semi-arid oak (Quercus brantii Lindl.) forest ecosystem. AGB was estimated and taxonomic diversity, community weighted average (CWM) and functional divergence indices were produced. We found that the aerial biomass was significantly higher in the intensively used area (14.57 (±1.60) t/hm2) than in the protected area (8.70 (±1.05) t/hm2) due to persistence of some large trees but with decreasing values along the dieback intensity gradient in both areas. CWM of height (H), leaf nitrogen content (LNC) and leaf dry matter content (LDMC) were also higher in the traditional managed area than in the protected area. In contrast, in the protected area, the woody species diversity was higher and the inter-specific competition was more intense, explaining a reduced H, biomass and LDMC. Contrary to the results of CWM, none of the functional diversity traits (FDvar) was affected by dieback intensity and only FDvar values of LNC, leaf phosphorus content (LPC) and LDMC were influenced by management. We also found significantly positive linear relationships of AGB with CWM and FDvar indices in the protected area, and with taxonomic and structural diversity indices in the traditional managed area. These results emphasize that along a dieback intensity gradient, the leaf functional traits are efficient predictors in estimating the AGB in protected forests, while taxonomic and structural indices provide better results in forests under a high human pressure. Finally, species identity of the dominant species (i.e., Brant's oak) proves to be the main driver of AGB, supporting the selection effect hypothesis.

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Using statistical models and GIS to delimit the groundwater recharge potential areas and to estimate the infiltration rate: A case study of Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin, Tunisia
Ali SOUEI, Taher ZOUAGHI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (11): 1122-1141.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0092-3
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The water resources of the Nadhour-Sisseb-El Alem Basin in Tunisia exhibit semi-arid and arid climatic conditions. This induces an excessive pumping of groundwater, which creates drops in water level ranging about 1-2 m/a. Indeed, these unfavorable conditions require interventions to rationalize integrated management in decision making. The aim of this study is to determine a water recharge index (WRI), delineate the potential groundwater recharge area and estimate the potential groundwater recharge rate based on the integration of statistical models resulted from remote sensing imagery, GIS digital data (e.g., lithology, soil, runoff), measured artificial recharge data, fuzzy set theory and multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP). Eight factors affecting potential groundwater recharge were determined, namely lithology, soil, slope, topography, land cover/use, runoff, drainage and lineaments. The WRI is between 1.2 and 3.1, which is classified into five classes as poor, weak, moderate, good and very good sites of potential groundwater recharge area. The very good and good classes occupied respectively 27% and 44% of the study area. The potential groundwater recharge rate was 43% of total precipitation. According to the results of the study, river beds are favorable sites for groundwater recharge.

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Diversity of cultivable endophytic bacteria associated with halophytes in Xinjiang of China and their plant beneficial traits
LI Li, GAO Lei, LIU Yonghong, FANG Baozhu, HUANG Yin, Osama A A MOHAMAD, Dilfuza EGAMBERDIEVA, LI Wenjun, MA Jinbiao
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 790-800.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0016-2
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Endophytic bacteria from halophytes have a wide range of application prospects in various fields, such as plant growth-promoting, biocontrol activity and stress resistance. The current study aimed to identify cultivable endophytic bacteria associated with halophytes grown in the salt-affected soil in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China and to evaluate their plant beneficial traits and enzyme-producing activity. Endophytic bacteria were isolated from Reaumuria soongorica (PalL Maxim.), Artemisia carvifolia (Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb. Hort. Beng.), Peganum harmala L. and Suaeda dendroides (C. A. Mey. Moq.) by using the cultural-dependent method. Then we classified these bacteria based on the difference between their sequences of 16S rRNA (16S ribosomal RNA) gene. Results showed that the isolated bacteria from R. soongorica belonged to the genera Brucella, Bacillus and Variovorax. The bacteria from A. carvifolia belonged to the genera Micromonospora and Brucella. The bacteria from P. harmala belonged to the genera Paramesorhizobium, Bacillus and Peribacillus. The bacteria from S. dendroides belonged to the genus Bacillus. Notably, the genus Bacillus was detected in the three above plants, indicating that Bacillus is a common taxon of endophytic bacteria in halophytes. And, our results found that about 37.50% of the tested strains showed strong protease-producing activity, 6.25% of the tested strains showed strong cellulase-producing activity and 12.50% of the tested strains showed moderate lipase-producing activity. Besides, all isolated strains were positive for IAA (3-Indoleacetic acid) production, 31.25% of isolated strains exhibited a moderate phosphate solubilization activity and 50.00% of isolated strains exhibited a weak siderophore production activity. Our findings suggest that halophytes are valuable resources for identifying microbes with the ability to increase host plant growth and health in salt-affected soils.

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Disturbance of plateau zokor-made mound stimulates plant community regeneration in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China
XIANG Zeyu, Arvind BHATT, TANG Zhongbin, PENG Yansong, WU Weifeng, ZHANG Jiaxin, WANG Jingxuan, David GALLACHER, ZHOU Saixia
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (10): 1054-1070.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0020-6
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Mounds constructed by plateau zokors, which is widely distributed in alpine meadows significantly modified plant community structure. However, the variations of plant community structure under the disturbance of plateau zokor-made mound are less concerned. Therefore, we investigated the responses of plant community on zokor-made mound of different years (1 a and 3-4 a), and compared with undisturbed sites (no mound) in an alpine meadow in the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), China. Species richness, coverage and Simpson diversity index were all significantly reduced by the presence of zokor-made mound, but plant heights were significantly increased, particularly in grasses and sedges. Several perennial forage species showed an increased importance value and niche breadth, including Koeleria macrantha, Elymus nutans and Poa pratensis. The effect of zokor-made mound on niche overlap showed that more intense interspecific competition produced a greater utilization of environmental resources. And this interspecific niche overlap was strengthened as succession progressed. The bare mound created by zokor burrowing activities provided a colonizing opportunity for non-dominant forage species, resulting in abundant plant species and plant diversity during the succession period. We concluded that presence of zokor-made mound was conducive to regeneration and vitality of plant community in alpine meadows, thus improving their resilience to anthropogenic stress.

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Mass balance of saline lakes considering inflow loads of rivers and groundwater: the case of Lake Issyk- Kul, Central Asia
Kei SAITOH, Rysbek SATYLKANOV, Kenji OKUBO
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (12): 1260-1273.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0026-0
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This study aimed to elucidate the influence of inflow water on the salinity concentration process of a saline lake and the mass balance of Lake Issyk-Kul, a tectonic saltwater lake in Kyrgyzstan. Based on the survey results and meteorological data from 2012 to 2015, we analyzed the dissolved chemical composition loads due to water inflow. Then, we discussed the relationship between the increase in salinity and water inflow into the lake. Through the water quality analysis data, we used the tank model to estimate the river inflow and analyze the loads by the L-Q curve. The groundwater loads were then estimated from the average annual increase in salinity of the lake over a period of 30 a. The results suggest that Lake Issyk-Kul was temporarily freshened between about AD 1500 and 1800 when an outflowing river existed, and thereafter, it became a closed lake in AD 1800 and continued to remain a saline lake until present. The chemical components that cause salinization are supplied from the rivers and groundwater in the catchment area, and when they flow into the lake, Ca2+, HCO3- and Mg2+ precipitate as CaCO3 and MgCO3. These compounds were confirmed to have been left on the lakeshore as evaporite. The model analysis showed that 1.67 mg/L of Ca2+ and Mg2+ supplied from rivers and groundwater are precipitated as evaporite and in other forms per year. On the other hand, salinity continues to remain in the lake water at a rate of 27.5 mg/L per year. These are the main causes of increased salinity in Lake Issyk-Kul. Since Na+ and Cl- are considered to be derived from geothermal water, they will continue to flow in regardless of the effects of human activities. Therefore, as long as these components are accumulated in Lake Issyk-Kul as a closed lake, the salinity will continue to increase in the future.

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Ecosystem service values of gardens in the Yellow River Basin, China
GE Qianqian, XU Wenjie, FU Meichen, HAN Yingxin, AN Guoqiang, XU Yuetong
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 284-296.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0061-5
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Studies on the ecosystem service value (ESV) of gardens are critical for informing evidence- based land management practices based on an understanding of the local ecosystem. By analyzing equivalent value factors (EVFs), this paper evaluated the values of 11 ecosystem services of gardens in the Yellow River Basin of China in 2019. High-precision land use survey data were used to improve the accuracy of the land use classification, garden areas, and spatial distribution of the ESVs of gardens. The results showed that garden ecosystem generally had high ESVs, especially in terms of the ESV of food production, which is worthy of further research and application to the practice of land use planning and management. Specifically, the value of one standard EVF of ecosystem services in 2019 was 3587.04 CNY/(hm2•a), and the ESV of food production of gardens was much higher than that of croplands. Garden ecosystem provided an ESV of 1348.66×108 CNY/a in the Yellow River Basin. The areas with the most concentrated ESVs of gardens were located in four regions: downstream in the Shandong-Henan zone along the Yellow River, mid-stream in the Shanxi-Shaanxi zone along the Yellow River, the Weihe River Basin, and upstream in the Qinghai-Gansu-Ningxia-Inner Mongolia zone along the Yellow River. The spatial correlation of the ESVs in the basin was significant (global spatial autocorrelation index Moran's I=0.464), which implied that the characteristics of high ESVs adjacent to high ESVs and low ESVs adjacent to low ESVs are prominent. In the Yellow River Basin, the contribution of the ESVs of gardens to the local environment and economy varied across regions. We also put forward some suggestions for promoting the construction of ecological civilization in the Yellow River Basin. The findings of this study provide important contributions to the research of ecosystem service evaluation in the Yellow River Basin.

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Check dam extraction from remote sensing images using deep learning and geospatial analysis: A case study in the Yanhe River Basin of the Loess Plateau, China
SUN Liquan, GUO Huili, CHEN Ziyu, YIN Ziming, FENG Hao, WU Shufang, Kadambot H M SIDDIQUE
Journal of Arid Land    2023, 15 (1): 34-51.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0091-7
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Check dams are widely used on the Loess Plateau in China to control soil and water losses, develop agricultural land, and improve watershed ecology. Detailed information on the number and spatial distribution of check dams is critical for quantitatively evaluating hydrological and ecological effects and planning the construction of new dams. Thus, this study developed a check dam detection framework for broad areas from high-resolution remote sensing images using an ensemble approach of deep learning and geospatial analysis. First, we made a sample dataset of check dams using GaoFen-2 (GF-2) and Google Earth images. Next, we evaluated five popular deep-learning-based object detectors, including Faster R-CNN, You Only Look Once (version 3) (YOLOv3), Cascade R-CNN, YOLOX, and VarifocalNet (VFNet), to identify the best one for check dam detection. Finally, we analyzed the location characteristics of the check dams and used geographical constraints to optimize the detection results. Precision, recall, average precision at intersection over union (IoU) threshold of 0.50 (AP50), IoU threshold of 0.75 (AP75), and average value for 10 IoU thresholds ranging from 0.50-0.95 with a 0.05 step (AP50-95), and inference time were used to evaluate model performance. All the five deep learning networks could identify check dams quickly and accurately, with AP50-95, AP50, and AP75 values higher than 60.0%, 90.0%, and 70.0%, respectively, except for YOLOv3. The VFNet had the best performance, followed by YOLOX. The proposed framework was tested in the Yanhe River Basin and yielded promising results, with a recall rate of 87.0% for 521 check dams. Furthermore, the geographic analysis deleted about 50% of the false detection boxes, increasing the identification accuracy of check dams from 78.6% to 87.6%. Simultaneously, this framework recognized 568 recently constructed check dams and small check dams not recorded in the known check dam survey datasets. The extraction results will support efficient watershed management and guide future studies on soil erosion in the Loess Plateau.

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Identifying water vapor sources of precipitation in forest and grassland in the north slope of the Tianshan Mountains, Central Asia
CHEN Haiyan, CHEN Yaning, LI Dalong, LI Weihong, YANG Yuhui
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 297-309.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0090-0
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Identifying water vapor sources in the natural vegetation of the Tianshan Mountains is of significant importance for obtaining greater knowledge about the water cycle, forecasting water resource changes, and dealing with the adverse effects of climate change. In this study, we identified water vapor sources of precipitation and evaluated their effects on precipitation stable isotopes in the north slope of the Tianshan Mountains, China. By utilizing the temporal and spatial distributions of precipitation stable isotopes in the forest and grassland regions, Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, and isotope mass balance model, we obtained the following results. (1) The Eurasia, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea are the major sources of water vapor. (2) The contribution of surface evaporation to precipitation in forests is lower than that in the grasslands (except in spring), while the contribution of plant transpiration to precipitation in forests (5.35%) is higher than that in grasslands (3.79%) in summer. (3) The underlying surface and temperature are the main factors that affect the contribution of recycled water vapor to precipitation; meanwhile, the effects of water vapor sources of precipitation on precipitation stable isotopes are counteracted by other environmental factors. Overall, this work will prove beneficial in quantifying the effect of climate change on local water cycles.

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Seasonal dynamics of soil water content in the typical vegetation and its response to precipitation in a semi-arid area of Chinese Loess Plateau
ZHOU Tairan, HAN Chun, QIAO Linjie, REN Chaojie, WEN Tao, ZHAO Changming
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (10): 1015-1025.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0021-5
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Soil water content is a key limiting factor for vegetation growth in the semi-arid area of Chinese Loess Plateau and precipitation is the main source of soil water content in this area. To further understand the impact of vegetation types and environmental factors such as precipitation on soil water content, we continuously monitored the seasonal dynamics in soil water content in four plots (natural grassland, Caragana korshinskii, Armeniaca sibirica and Pinus tabulaeformis) in Chinese Loess Plateau. The results show that the amplitude of soil water content fluctuation decreases with an increase in soil depth, showing obvious seasonal variations. Soil water content of artificial vegetation was found to be significantly lower than that of natural grassland, and most precipitation events have difficulty replenishing soil water content below a depth of 40 cm. Spring and autumn are the key seasons for replenishment of soil water by precipitation. Changes in soil water content are affected by precipitation, vegetation types, soil evaporation and other factors. The interception effect of vegetation on precipitation and the demand for water consumption by transpiration are the key factors affecting the efficiency of soil water replenishment by precipitation in this area. Due to artificial vegetation plantation in this area, soil will face a water deficit crisis in the future.

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Assessment of organic compost and biochar in promoting phytoremediation of crude-oil contaminated soil using Calendula officinalis in the Loess Plateau, China
WANG Jincheng, JING Mingbo, ZHANG Wei, ZHANG Gaosen, ZHANG Binglin, LIU Guangxiu, CHEN Tuo, ZHAO Zhiguang
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (6): 612-628.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0011-7
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The Loess Plateau, located in Gansu Province, is an important energy base in China because most of the oil and gas resources are distributed in Gansu Province. In the last 40 a, ecological environment in this region has been extremely destroyed due to the over-exploitation of crude-oil resources. Remediation of crude-oil contaminated soil in this area remains to be a challenging task. In this study, in order to elucidate the effects of organic compost and biochar on phytoremediation of crude-oil contaminated soil (20 g/kg) by Calendula officinalis, we designed five treatments, i.e., natural attenuation (CK), planted C. officinalis only (P), planted C. officinalis with biochar amendment (PB), planted C. officinalis with organic compost amendment (PC), and planted C. officinalis with co-amendment of biochar and organic compost (PBC). After 152 d of cultivation, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) removal rates of CK, P, PB, PC and PBC were 6.36%, 50.08%, 39.58%, 73.10% and 59.87%, respectively. Shoot and root dry weights of C. officinalis significantly increased by 172.31% and 80.96% under PC and 311.61% and 145.43% under PBC, respectively as compared with P (P<0.05). Total chlorophyll contents in leaves ofC. officinalis under P, PC and PBC significantly increased by 77.36%, 125.50% and 79.80%, respectively (P<0.05) as compared with PB. Physical-chemical characteristics and enzymatic activity of soil in different treatments were also assessed. The highest total N, total P, available N, available P and SOM (soil organic matter) occurred in PC, followed by PBC (P<0.05).C. officinalis rhizospheric soil dehydrogenase (DHA) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activities in PB were lower than those of other treatments (P<0.05). The values of ACE (abundance-based coverage estimators) and Chao 1 indices for rhizospheric bacteria were the highest under PC followed by PBC, P, PB and CK (P<0.05). However, the Shannon index for bacteria was the highest under PC and PBC, followed by P, PB and CK (P<0.05). In terms of soil microbial community composition,Proteiniphilum, Immundisolibacteraceae and Solimonadaceae were relatively more abundant under PC and PBC. Relative abundances of Pseudallescheria, Ochroconis, Fusarium, Sarocladium, Podospora, Apodus, Pyrenochaetopsis and Schizothecium under PC and PBC were higher, while relative abundances of Gliomastix, Aspergillusand Alternaria were lower under PC and PBC. As per the nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analysis, application of organic compost significantly promoted soil N and P contents, shoot length, root vitality, chlorophyll ratio, total chlorophyll, abundance and diversity of rhizospheric soil microbial community in C. officinalis. A high pH value and lower soil N and P contents induced by biochar, altered C. officinalis rhizospheric soil microbial community composition, which might have restrained its phytoremediation efficiency. The results suggest that organic compost-assistedC. officinalis phytoremediation for crude-oil contaminated soil was highly effective in the Loess Plateau, China.

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Spatial-temporal variations of ecological vulnerability in the Tarim River Basin, Northwest China
BAI Jie, LI Junli, BAO Anmin, CHANG Cun
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 814-834.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0079-0
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As the largest inland river basin of China, the Tarim River Basin (TRB), known for its various natural resources and fragile environment, has an increased risk of ecological crisis due to the intensive exploitation and utilization of water and land resources. Since the Ecological Water Diversion Project (EWDP), which was implemented in 2001 to save endangered desert vegetation, there has been growing evidence of ecological improvement in local regions, but few studies have performed a comprehensive ecological vulnerability assessment of the whole TRB. This study established an evaluation framework integrating the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and entropy method to estimate the ecological vulnerability of the TRB covering climatic, ecological, and socioeconomic indicators during 2000-2017. Based on the geographical detector model, the importance of ten driving factors on the spatial-temporal variations of ecological vulnerability was explored. The results showed that the ecosystem of the TRB was fragile, with more than half of the area (57.27%) dominated by very heavy and heavy grades of ecological vulnerability, and 28.40% of the area had potential and light grades of ecological vulnerability. The light grade of ecological vulnerability was distributed in the northern regions (Aksu River and Weigan River catchments) and western regions (Kashgar River and Yarkant River catchments), while the heavy grade was located in the southern regions (Kunlun Mountains and Qarqan River catchments) and the Mainstream catchment. The ecosystems in the western and northern regions were less vulnerable than those in the southern and eastern regions. From 2000 to 2017, the overall improvement in ecological vulnerability in the whole TRB showed that the areas with great ecological improvement increased by 46.11%, while the areas with ecological degradation decreased by 9.64%. The vegetation cover and potential evapotranspiration (PET) were the obvious driving factors, explaining 57.56% and 21.55% of the changes in ecological vulnerability across the TRB, respectively. In terms of ecological vulnerability grade changes, obvious spatial differences were observed in the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the TRB due to the different vegetation and hydrothermal conditions. The alpine source region of the TRB showed obvious ecological improvement due to increased precipitation and temperature, but the alpine meadow of the Kaidu River catchment in the Middle Tianshan Mountains experienced degradation associated with overgrazing and local drought. The improved agricultural management technologies had positive effects on farmland ecological improvement, while the desert vegetation in oasis-desert ecotones showed a decreasing trend as a result of cropland reclamation and intensive drought. The desert riparian vegetation in the lower reaches of the Tarim River was greatly improved due to the implementation of the EWDP, which has been active for tens of years. These results provide comprehensive knowledge about ecological processes and mechanisms in the whole TRB and help to develop environmental restoration measures based on different ecological vulnerability grades in each sub-catchment.

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Spatiotemporal variations of evapotranspiration and reference crop water requirement over 1957-2016 in Iran based on CRU TS gridded dataset
Brian COLLINS, Hadi RAMEZANI ETEDALI, Ameneh TAVAKOL, Abbas KAVIANI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 858-878.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0103-4
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Agriculture needs to produce more food to feed the growing population in the 21st century. It makes the reference crop water requirement (WREQ) a major challenge especially in regions with limited water and high water demand. Iran, with large climatic variability, is experiencing a serious water crisis due to limited water resources and inefficient agriculture. In order to overcome the issue of uneven distribution of weather stations, gridded Climatic Research Unit (CRU) data was applied to analyze the changes in potential evapotranspiration (PET), effective precipitation (EFFPRE) and WREQ. Validation of data using in situ observation showed an acceptable performance of CRU in Iran. Changes in PET, EFFPRE and WREQ were analyzed in two 30-a periods 1957-1986 and 1987-2016. Comparing two periods showed an increase in PET and WREQ in regions extended from the southwest to northeast and a decrease in the southeast, more significant in summer and spring. However, EFFPRE decreased in the southeast, northeast, and northwest, especially in winter and spring. Analysis of annual trends revealed an upward trend in PET (14.32 mm/decade) and WREQ (25.50 mm/decade), but a downward trend in EFFPRE (-11.8 mm/decade) over the second period. Changes in PET, EFFPRE and WREQ in winter have the impact on the annual trend. Among climate variables, WREQ showed a significant correlation (r=0.59) with minimum temperature. The increase in WREQ and decrease in EFFPRE would exacerbate the agricultural water crisis in Iran. With all changes in PET and WREQ, immediate actions are needed to address the challenges in agriculture and adapt to the changing climate.

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Spatiotemporal variations and driving factors of habitat quality in the loess hilly area of the Yellow River Basin: A case study of Lanzhou City, China
DONG Jianhong, ZHANG Zhibin, LIU Benteng, ZHANG Xinhong, ZHANG Wenbin, CHEN Long
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (6): 637-652.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0097-6
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Rapid industrialization and urbanization have led to the most serious habitat degradation in China, especially in the loess hilly area of the Yellow River Basin, where the ecological environment is relatively fragile. The contradiction between economic development and ecological environment protection has aroused widespread concern. In this study, we used the habitat quality of Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST-HQ) model at different scales to evaluate the dynamic evolution characteristics of habitat quality in Lanzhou City, Gansu Province of China. The spatiotemporal variations of habitat quality were analyzed by spatial autocorrelation. A Geographical Detector (Geodetector) model was used to explore the driving factors that influencing the spatial differentiation of habitat quality, including natural factors, socio-economic factors, and ecological protection factors. The results showed that the habitat quality index of Lanzhou City decreased from 0.4638 to 0.4548 during 2000-2018. The areas with reduced the habitat quality index were mainly located in the Yellow River Basin and Qinwangchuan Basin, where are the main urban areas and the new economic development areas, respectively. The spatial distribution of habitat quality presented a trend of high in the surrounding areas and low in the middle, and showed a significant positive spatial autocorrelation. With the increase of study scale, the spatial distribution of habitat quality changed from concentrated to dispersed. The spatial differentiation of habitat quality in the study area was the result of multiple factors. Among them, topographic relief and slope were the key factors. The synergistic enhancement among these driving factors intensified the spatial differentiation of habitat quality. The findings of this study can provide a scientific basis for land resources utilization and ecosystem restoration in the arid and semi-arid land.

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Contrasting effects of nitrogen addition on litter decomposition in forests and grasslands in China
SU Yuan, MA Xiaofei, GONG Yanming, LI Kaihui, HAN Wenxuan, LIU Xuejun
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (7): 717-729.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0076-3
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Nitrogen (N) addition has profound impacts on litter-mediated nutrient cycling. Numerous studies have reported different effects of N addition on litter decomposition, exhibiting positive, negative, or neutral effects. Previous meta-analysis of litter decomposition under N addition was mainly based on a small number of samples to allow comparisons among ecosystem types. This study presents the results of a meta-analysis incorporating data from 53 published studies (including 617 observations) across forests, grasslands, wetlands, and croplands in China, to investigate how environmental and experimental factors impact the effects of N addition on litter decomposition. Averaged across all of the studies, N addition significantly slows litter decomposition by 7.02%. Considering ecosystem types, N addition significantly accelerates litter decomposition by 3.70% and 11.22% in grasslands and wetlands, respectively, clearly inhibits litter decomposition by 14.53% in forests, and has no significant effects on litter decomposition in croplands. Regarding the accelerated litter decomposition rate in grasslands due to N addition, litter decomposition rate increases slightly with increasing rates of N addition. However, N addition slows litter decomposition in forests, but litter decomposition is at a significantly increasing rate with increasing amounts of N addition. The responses of litter decomposition to N addition are also influenced by the forms of N addition, experiential duration of N addition, humidity index, litter quality, and soil pH. In summary, N addition alters litter decomposition rate, but the direction and magnitude of the response are affected by the forms of N addition, the rate of N addition, ambient N deposition, experimental duration, and climate factors. Our study highlights the contrasting effects of N addition on litter decomposition in forests and grasslands. This finding could be used in biogeochemical models to better evaluate ecosystem carbon cycling under increasing N deposition due to the differential responses of litter decomposition to N addition rates and ecosystem types.

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Occurrence, sources, and relationships of soil microplastics with adsorbed heavy metals in the Ebinur Lake Basin, Northwest China
ZHANG Zhaoyong, GUO Jieyi, WANG Pengwei
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (8): 910-924.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0025-9
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There is a lack of research on soil microplastics in arid oases considering the rapid economic development of northwestern China. Here, we studied the occurrence and sources of microplastics in soil, as well as the relationships between microplastics and adsorbed heavy metals in the Ebinur Lake Basin, a typical arid oasis in China. Results showed that (1) the average microplastic content in all soil samples was 36.15 (±3.27) mg/kg. The contents of microplastics at different sampling sites ranged from 3.89 (±1.64) to 89.25 (±2.98) mg/kg. Overall, the proportions of various microplastic shapes decreased in the following order: film (54.25%)>fiber (18.56%)>particle (15.07%)>fragment (8.66%)>foam (3.46%); (2) among all microplastic particles, white particles accounted for the largest proportion (52.93%), followed by green (24.15%), black (12.17%), transparent (7.16%), and yellow particles (3.59%). The proportions of microplastic particle size ranges across all soil samples decreased in the following order: 1000-2000 µm (40.88%)>500-1000 µm (26.75%)>2000-5000 µm (12.30%)>100-500 µm (12.92%)>0-100 µm (7.15%). FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) analyses showed that polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), polyethylene (PE), and polystyrene (PS) occurred in the studied soil; (3) random forest predictions showed that industrial and agricultural production activities and the discharge of domestic plastic waste were related to soil microplastic pollution, in which agricultural plastic film was the most important factor in soil pollution in the study area; and (4) seven heavy metals extracted from microplastics in the soil samples showed significant positive correlations with soil pH, EC, total salt, N, P, and K contents (P<0.01), indicating that these soil factors could significantly affect the contents of heavy metals carried by soil microplastics. This research demonstrated that the contents of soil microplastics are lower than other areas of the world, and they mainly come from industrial and agricultural activities of the Ebinur Lake Basin.

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Glacier mass balance and its impacts on streamflow in a typical inland river basin in the Tianshan Mountains, northwestern China
PENG Jiajia, LI Zhongqin, XU Liping, MA Yuqing, LI Hongliang, ZHAO Weibo, FAN Shuang
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (4): 455-472.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0012-1
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Glaciers are known as natural ''solid reservoirs'', and they play a dual role between the composition of water resources and the river runoff regulation in arid and semi-arid areas of China. In this study, we used in situ observation data from Urumqi Glacier No. 1, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in combination with meteorological data from stations and a digital elevation model, to develop a distributed degree-day model for glaciers in the Urumqi River Basin to simulate glacier mass balance processes and quantify their effect on streamflow during 1980-2020. The results indicate that the mass loss and the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) of glaciers in the last 41 years had an increasing trend, with the average mass balance and ELA being -0.85 (±0.32) m w.e./a (meter water-equivalent per year) and 4188 m a.s.l., respectively. The glacier mass loss has increased significantly during 1999-2020, mostly due to the increase in temperature and the extension of ablation season. During 1980-2011, the average annual glacier meltwater runoff in the Urumqi River Basin was 0.48×108 m3, accounting for 18.56% of the total streamflow. We found that the annual streamflow in different catchments in the Urumqi River Basin had a strong response to the changes in glacier mass balance, especially from July to August, and the glacier meltwater runoff increased significantly. In summary, it is quite possible that the results of this research can provide a reference for the study of glacier water resources in glacier-recharged basins in arid and semi-arid areas.

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Transport mechanism of eroded sediment particles under freeze-thaw and runoff conditions
WANG Tian, LI Peng, HOU Jingming, TONG Yu, LI Jing, WANG Feng, LI Zhanbin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 490-501.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0016-x
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Hydraulic erosion associated with seasonal freeze-thaw cycles is one of the most predominant factors, which drives soil stripping and transportation. In this study, indoor simulated meltwater erosion experiments were used to investigate the sorting characteristics and transport mechanism of sediment particles under different freeze-thaw conditions (unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes) and runoff rates (1, 2, and 4 L/min). Results showed that the order of sediment particle contents was silt>sand>clay during erosion process on unfrozen, shallow-thawed, and frozen slopes. Compared with original soils, clay and silt were lost, and sand was deposited. On unfrozen and shallow-thawed slopes, the change of runoff rate had a significant impact on the enrichment of clay, silt, and sand particles. In this study, the sediment particles transported in the form of suspension/saltation were 83.58%-86.54% on unfrozen slopes, 69.24%-84.89% on shallow-thawed slopes, and 83.75%-87.44% on frozen slopes. Moreover, sediment particles smaller than 0.027 mm were preferentially transported. On shallow-thawed slope, relative contribution percentage of suspension/saltation sediment particles gradually increased with the increase in runoff rate, and an opposite trend occurred on unfrozen and frozen slopes. At the same runoff rate, freeze-thaw process had a significant impact on the relative contribution percentage of sediment particle transport via suspension/saltation and rolling during erosion process. The research results provide an improved transport mechanism under freeze-thaw condition for steep loessal slopes.

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Soil quality assessment in different dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the northern Loess Plateau, China
CHEN Shumin, JIN Zhao, ZHANG Jing, YANG Siqi
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 777-789.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0014-4
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There are numerous valley farmlands on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP), where suffers from low soil quality and high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table and poor drainage system. Currently, research on the evolution processes and mechanisms of soil quality and salinization in these dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP is still inadequately understood. In this study, three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands in the hilly-gully areas of the northern CLP were selected, and the status of soil quality and the impact factors of soil salinization were examined. The dammed-valley farmlands include the new farmland created by the project of Gully Land Consolidation, the 60-a farmland created by sedimentation from check dam, and the 400-a farmland created by sedimentation from an ancient landslide-dammed lake. Results showed that (1) the newly created farmland had the lowest soil quality in terms of soil bulk density, porosity, soil organic carbon and total nitrogen among the three kinds of dammed-valley farmlands; (2) soil salinization occurred in the middle and upper reaches of the new and 60-a valley farmlands, whereas no soil salinization was found in the 400-a valley farmland; and (3) soil salinization and low soil nutrient were determined to be the two important factors that impacted the soil quality of the valley farmlands in the hilly-gully mountain areas of the CLP. We conclude that the dammed-valley farmlands on the CLP have a high risk of soil salinization due to the shallow groundwater table, alkalinity of the loessial soil and local landform feature, thus resulting in the low soil quality of the valley farmlands. Therefore, strengthening drainage and decreasing groundwater table are extremely important to improve the soil quality of the valley farmlands and guarantee the sustainable development of the valley agriculture on the CLP.

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Effect of nitrogen and phosphorus addition on leaf nutrient concentrations and nutrient resorption efficiency of two dominant alpine grass species
LIU Yalan, LI Lei, LI Xiangyi, YUE Zewei, LIU Bo
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (10): 1041-1053.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0080-7
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Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are two essential nutrients that determine plant growth and many nutrient cycling processes. Increasing N and P deposition is an important driver of ecosystem changes. However, in contrast to numerous studies about the impacts of nutrient addition on forests and temperate grasslands, how plant foliar stoichiometry and nutrient resorption respond to N and P addition in alpine grasslands is poorly understood. Therefore, we conducted an N and P addition experiment (involving control, N addition, P addition, and N+P addition) in an alpine grassland on Kunlun Mountains (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China) in 2016 and 2017 to investigate the changes in leaf nutrient concentrations (i.e., leaf N, Leaf P, and leaf N:P ratio) and nutrient resorption efficiency of Seriphidium rhodanthum and Stipa capillata, which are dominant species in this grassland. Results showed that N addition has significant effects on soil inorganic N (NO3--N and NH4+-N) and leaf N of both species in the study periods. Compared with green leaves, leaf nutrient concentrations and nutrient resorption efficiency in senesced leaves of S. rhodanthum was more sensitive to N addition, whereas N addition influenced leaf N and leaf N:P ratio in green and senesced leaves of S. capillata. N addition did not influence N resorption efficiency of the two species. P addition and N+P addition significantly improved leaf P and had a negative effect on P resorption efficiency of the two species in the study period. These influences on plants can be explained by increasing P availability. The present results illustrated that the two species are more sensitive to P addition than N addition, which implies that P is the major limiting factor in the studied alpine grassland ecosystem. In addition, an interactive effect of N+P addition was only discernable with respect to soil availability, but did not affect plants. Therefore, exploring how nutrient characteristics and resorption response to N and P addition in the alpine grassland is important to understand nutrient use strategy of plants in terrestrial ecosystems.

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Water utilization of typical plant communities in desert steppe, China
CHEN Juan, WANG Xing, SONG Naiping, WANG Qixue, WU Xudong
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (9): 1038-1054.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0031-y
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Water is a limiting factor in the restoration and construction of desert steppe. Exploring plant water sources is necessary to understand soil-plant interactions and species coexistence; however, water sources of major plant communities within the desert steppe of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China remain poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the water uptake of plants in four typical communities: Agropyron mongolicum Keng.; Sophora alopecuroids Linn.; Stipa breviflora Griseb., and Achnatherum splendens (Trin.) Nevski communities. Stable isotopes δD and δ18O in the xylem of plant and soil water at different soil depths were analyzed. An IsoSource model was used to determine the soil depths from which plants obtained water. Results showed that A. mongolicum community obtained water predominantly from 0-20 and 40-80 cm depth, S. alopecuroids community from 0-20 cm depth, S. breviflora community from 0-40 cm depth, and A. splendens community from 0-20 and 80-140 cm depths. S. alopecuroides had a wider range of soil depths for water extraction, i.e., utilizing different water sources depending on habitat, and the plasticity of its water uptake pattern determined its role in different communities. Water source of plants relayed heavily on the distribution of their roots. Competition for soil water exists between different plant life forms in the sierozem habitat (A. mongolicum, S. alopecuroids, and S. breviflora communities), and in the sandy soil habitat (A. splendens community). The use of soil water by A. splendens community is more spatially differentiated, and shrubs and herbs can coexist stably. Under the pattern of extended drought period in the future, sierozem habitat may be more favorable for the formation of a dominant monoculture community type of perennial fibrous plants. In aeolian sandy soil habitat, A. splendens had a strong competitive advantage, and the growth of shallow-rooted plants was easily suppressed.

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Effects of vegetation near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment reduction in typical grasslands on the Loess Plateau, China
LI Panpan, WANG Bing, YANG Yanfen, LIU Guobin
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (3): 325-340.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0007-y
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Vegetation near-soil-surface factors can protect topsoil from erosion, however, their contributions to the reduction of soil erosion, especially under natural rainfall events, have not been systematically recognized. This study was performed to quantify the effects of near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment under natural rainfall events on grasslands dominated by Bothriochloa ischaemum (Linn.) Keng (BI grassland) and Artemisia gmelinii Thunb. (AG grassland) in two typical watersheds on the Loess Plateau, China in 2018. By successive removal of the plant canopy, litter, biological soil crusts (BSCs) and plant roots, we established five treatments including plant roots, plant roots+BSCs, plant roots+BSCs+litter, intact grassland and bare land in each grassland type. In total, twenty runoff plots (5 m×3 m) with similar slopes and aspects were constructed in the two types of grasslands. Results showed that plant canopy, litter and roots reduced runoff, while BSCs, which swelled in the presence of water, increased runoff. In contrast, all of these factors reduced sediment yield. In addition, the reductions in runoff and sediment yield increased with I30 (maximum 30-min rainfall intensity) for each vegetation near-soil-surface factor except for BSCs. Among these factors, plant canopy had the largest contribution to runoff reduction, accounting for 48.8% and 39.9% in the BI and AG grasslands, respectively. The contributions of these vegetation near-soil-surface factors to sediment yield reduction were similar (21.3%-29.9%) in the two types of grasslands except for BSCs in the AG grassland (10.3%). The total reduction in runoff in the BI grassland (70.8%) was greater than that in the AG grassland (53.1%), while the reduction in sediment yield was almost the same in both grasslands (97.4% and 96.7%). In conclusion, according to the effects of different vegetation near-soil-surface factors on runoff and sediment production, our results may provide more complete insight and scientific basis into the effects of various vegetation related factors in controlling soil erosion.

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Synergistic effects of multiple driving factors on the runoff variations in the Yellow River Basin, China
WANG Junjie, SHI Bing, ZHAO Enjin, CHEN Xuguang, YANG Shaopeng
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 835-857.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0078-1
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River runoff plays an important role in watershed ecosystems and human survival, and it is controlled by multiple environmental factors. However, the synergistic effects of various large-scale circulation factors and meteorological factors on the runoff on different time-frequency scales have rarely been explored. In light of this, the underlying mechanism of the synergistic effects of the different environmental factors on the runoff variations was investigated in the Yellow River Basin of China during the period 1950-2019 using the bivariate wavelet coherence (WTC) and multiple wavelet coherence (MWC) methods. First, the continuous wavelet transform (CWT) method was used to analyze the multiscale characteristics of the runoff. The results of the CWT indicate that the runoff exhibited significant continuous or discontinuous annual and semiannual oscillations during the study period. Scattered inter-annual time scales were also observed for the runoff in the Yellow River Basin. The meteorological factors better explained the runoff variations on seasonal and annual time scales. The average wavelet coherence (AWC) and the percent area of the significant coherence (PASC) between the runoff and individual meteorological factors were 0.454 and 19.89%, respectively. The circulation factors mainly regulated the runoff on the inter-annual and decadal time scales with more complicated phase relationships due to their indirect effects on the runoff. The AWC and PASC between the runoff and individual circulation factors were 0.359 and 7.31%, respectively. The MWC analysis revealed that the synergistic effects of multiple factors should be taken into consideration to explain the multiscale characteristic variations of the runoff. The AWC or MWC ranges were 0.320-0.560, 0.617-0.755, and 0.819-0.884 for the combinations of one, two, and three circulation and meteorological factors, respectively. The PASC ranges were 3.53%-33.77%, 12.93%-36.90%, and 20.67%-39.34% for the combinations one, two, and three driving factors, respectively. The combinations of precipitation, evapotranspiration (or the number of rainy days), and the Arctic Oscillation performed well in explaining the variability in the runoff on all time scales, and the average MWC and PASC were 0.847 and 28.79%, respectively. These findings are of great significance for improving our understanding of hydro-climate interactions and water resources prediction in the Yellow River Basin.

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Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China
WU Jun, DENG Guoning, ZHOU Dongmei, ZHU Xiaoyan, MA Jing, CEN Guozhang, JIN Yinli, ZHANG Jun
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (7): 674-687.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0074-5
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Water resources are a crucial factor that determines the health of ecosystems and socio-economic development; however, they are under threat due to climate change and human activities. The quantitative assessment of water resources using the concept of blue water and green water can improve regional water resources management. In this study, spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water were simulated and analyzed under scenarios of climate change and land-use changes using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Northwest China, between 2009 and 2014. Green water, a leading component of water resources, accounted for more than 69.00% of the total water resources in Ningxia. Blue water and green water showed a single peak trend on the monthly and annual scales during the study period. On the spatial scale, the southern region of Ningxia showed higher blue water and green water resources than the northern region. The spatiotemporal distribution features of blue water, green water, and green water flow had strong correlations with precipitation. Furthermore, the simulation identified the climate change in Ningxia to be more influential on blue water and green water than land-use changes. This study provides a specific scientific foundation to manage water resources in Ningxia when encountered with climate change together with human activities.

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Effect of topography on the changes of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains
LI Hongliang, WANG Puyu, LI Zhongqin, JIN Shuang, XU Chunhai, MU Jianxin, HE Jie, YU Fengchen
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (7): 719-738.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0068-y
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Topography plays an important role in determining the glacier changes. However, topography has often been oversimplified in the studies of the glacier changes. No systematic studies have been conducted to evaluate the relationship between the glacier changes and topographic features. The present study provided a detailed insight into the changes in the two branches (east branch and west branch) of Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in the Chinese Tianshan Mountains since 1993 and systematically discussed the effect of topography on the glacier parameters. This study analyzed comprehensive recently observed data (from 1992/1993 to 2018/2019), including mass balance, ice thickness, surface elevation, ice velocity, terminus, and area, and then determined the differences in the changes of the two branches and explored the effect of topography on the glacier changes. We also applied a topographic solar radiation model to analyze the influence of topography on the incoming shortwave radiation (SWin) across the entire glacier, focusing on the difference in the SWin between the two branches. The glacier mass balance of the east branch was more negative than that of the west branch from 1992/1993 to 2018/2019, and this was mainly attributed to the lower average altitude of the east branch. Compared with the west branch, the decrease rate of the ice velocity was lower in the east branch owing to its relatively increased slope. The narrow shape of the west branch and its southeast aspect in the earlier period resulted in a larger glacier terminus retreat of the west branch. The spatial variability of the SWin across the glacier surface became much larger as altitude increased. The SWin received by the east branch was slightly larger than that received by the west branch, and the northern aspect could receive more SWin, leading to glacier melting. In the future, the difference of the glacier changes between the two branches will continue to exist due to their topographic differences. This work is fundamental to understanding how topographic features affect the glacier changes, and provides information for building different types of relationship between the glacier area and ice volume to promote further studies on the basin-scale glacier classification.

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Spatiotemporal characteristics and influencing factors of ecosystem services in Central Asia
YAN Xue, LI Lanhai
Journal of Arid Land    2023, 15 (1): 1-19.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0074-0
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Land use/land cover (LULC) change and climate change are two major factors affecting the provision of ecosystem services which are closely related to human well-being. However, a clear understanding of the relationships between these two factors and ecosystem services in Central Asia is still lacking. This study aimed to comprehensively assess ecosystem services in Central Asia and analyze how they are impacted by changes in LULC and climate. The spatiotemporal patterns of three ecosystem services during the period of 2000-2015, namely the net primary productivity (NPP), water yield, and soil retention, were quantified and mapped by the Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach (CASA) model, Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) model, and Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). Scenarios were used to determine the relative importance and combined effect of LULC change and climate change on ecosystem services. Then, the relationships between climate factors (precipitation and temperature) and ecosystem services, as well as between LULC change and ecosystem services, were further discussed. The results showed that the high values of ecosystem services appeared in the southeast of Central Asia. Among the six biomes (alpine forest region (AFR), alpine meadow region (AMR), typical steppe region (TSR), desert steppe region (DSR), desert region (DR), and lake region (LR)), the values of ecosystem services followed the order of AFR>AMR>TSR>DSR> DR>LR. In addition, the values of ecosystem services fluctuated during the period of 2000-2015, with the most significant decreases observed in the southeast mountainous area and northwest of Central Asia. LULC change had a greater impact on the NPP, while climate change had a stronger influence on the water yield and soil retention. The combined LULC change and climate change exhibited a significant synergistic effect on ecosystem services in most of Central Asia. Moreover, ecosystem services were more strongly and positively correlated with precipitation than with temperature. The greening of desert areas and forest land expansion could improve ecosystem services, but unreasonable development of cropland and urbanization have had an adverse impact on ecosystem services. According to the results, ecological stability in Central Asia can be achieved through the natural vegetation protection, reasonable urbanization, and ecological agriculture development.

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Assessment of river basin habitat quality and its relationship with disturbance factors: A case study of the Tarim River Basin in Northwest China
HE Bing, CHANG Jianxia, GUO Aijun, WANG Yimin, WANG Yan, LI Zhehao
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (2): 167-185.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0058-0
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The status of regional biodiversity is determined by habitat quality. The effective assessment of habitat quality can help balance the relationship between economic development and biodiversity conservation. Therefore, this study used the InVEST model to conduct a dynamic evaluation of the spatial and temporal changes in habitat quality of the Tarim River Basin in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China by calculating the degradation degree levels for habitat types that were caused by threat factors from 1990 to 2018 (represented by four periods of 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). Specifically, we used spatial autocorrelation analysis and Getis-Ord G* i analysis to divide the study area into three heterogeneous units in terms of habitat quality: cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. Hemeroby index, population density, gross domestic product (GDP), altitude and distance from water source (DWS) were then chosen as the main disturbance factors. Linear correlation and spatial regression models were subsequently used to analyze the influences of disturbance factors on habitat quality. The results demonstrated that the overall level of habitat quality in the TRB was poor, showing a continuous degradation state. The intensity of the negative correlation between habitat quality and Hemeroby index was proven to be strongest in cold spot areas, hot spot areas and random areas. The spatial lag model (SLM) was better suited to spatial regression analysis due to the spatial dependence of habitat quality and disturbance factors in heterogeneous units. By analyzing the model, Hemeroby index was found to have the greatest impact on habitat quality in the studied four periods (1990, 2000, 2010 and 2018). The research results have potential guiding significance for the formulation of reasonable management policies in the TRB as well as other river basins in arid areas.

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Mathematical and statistical modeling of morphometric and planar parameters of barchans in Pashoeyeh Erg in the west of Lut Desert, Iran
Hossein GHAZANFARPOUR, Mohsen POURKHOSRAVANI, Sayed H MOUSAVI, Ali MEHRABI
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 801-813.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0102-5
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Barchan dunes are among the most common accumulative phenomena made by wind erosion, which are usually formed in regions where the prevailing wind direction is almost constant throughout the year and there is not enough sand to completely cover the land surface. Barchans are among the most common windy landscapes in Pashoueyeh Erg in the west of Lut Desert, Iran. This study aims to elaborate on morphological properties of barchans in this region using mathematical and statistical models. The results of these methods are very important in investigating barchan shapes and identifying their behavior. Barchan shapes were mathematically modeled by simulating them in the coordinate system through nonlinear parabolic equations, so that two separate equations were calculated for barchan windward and slip-face parabolas. The type and intensity of relationships between barchan morphology and mathematical parameters were determined by the statistical modeling. The results indicated that the existing relationships followed the power correlation with the maximum coefficient of determination and minimum error of estimate. Combining the above two methods is a powerful basis for stimulating barchans in virtual and laboratory environments. The most important result of this study is to convert the mathematical and statistical models of barchan morphology to each other. Focal length is one of the most important parameters of barchan parabolas, suggesting different states of barchans in comparison with each other. As the barchan's focal length decreases, its opening becomes narrower, and the divergence of the barchan's horns reduces. Barchans with longer focal length have greater width, dimensions, and volume. In general, identifying and estimating the morphometric and planar parameters of barchans is effective in how they move, how much they move, and how they behave in the environment. These cases play an important role in the management of desert areas.

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Contribution of underlying terrain to sand dunes: evidence from the Qaidam Basin, Northwest China
LI Jiyan, QU Xin, DONG Zhibao, CAI Yingying, LIU Min, REN Xiaozong, CUI Xujia
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (12): 1215-1229.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0028-y
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Underlying terrain strongly influences dune formation. However, the impacts of underlying terrain on the dune formation are poorly studied. In the present research, we focused on dunes that formed in the alluvial fans and dry salt flats in the Qaidam Basin, Northwest China. We quantified the dunes' sediment characteristics on different types of underlying terrain and the terrain's effects on the surface quartz grains by analyzing grain-size distribution, soluble salt contents and grain surface micro-textures. Results showed that barchan dunes were dominated by medium sands with a unimodal frequency distribution, whose peak corresponded to the saltation load. Linear dunes were mainly composed of fine sands with a bimodal frequency distribution, whose main peak represented the saltation load, and whose secondary peak represented the modified saltation or suspension load. Sand was transported from source area by running water (inland rivers) over short distances and by wind over relatively longer distances. Thus, quartz grains had poor roundness and were dominated by sub-angular and angular shapes. Surface micro-textures indicated that dune sands were successively transported by exogenic agents (glaciation, fluviation and wind). Soluble salt contents were low in dunes that developed in the alluvial fans, which represented a low-energy chemical environment, so the grain surface micro-textures mainly resulted from mechanical erosion, with weak micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation. However, soluble salt contents were much higher in dunes that developed in the dry salt flats, which indicated a high-energy chemical environment. Therefore, in addition to micro-structures caused by mechanical erosion, micro-textures formed by SiO2 solution and precipitation also well developed. Our results improve understanding of the sediment characteristics of dune sands and the effects of underlying terrain on dune development in the Qaidam Basin, China.

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Spatiotemporal evolution and prediction of habitat quality in Hohhot City of China based on the InVEST and CA-Markov models
LUAN Yongfei, HUANG Guohe, ZHENG Guanghui
Journal of Arid Land    2023, 15 (1): 20-33.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-023-0090-8
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With the acceleration of urbanization, changes in the urban ecological environment and landscape pattern have led to a series of prominent ecological environmental problems. In order to better coordinate the balanced relationship between city and ecological environment, we selected land use change data to evaluate the habitat quality in Hohhot City of China, which is of great practical significance for regional urban and economic development. Thus, the integrated valuation of ecosystem services and tradeoffs (InVEST) and Cellular Automata-Markov (CA-Markov) models were used to analyze, predict, and explore the Spatiotemporal evolution path and characteristics of urban land use, and forecast the typical evolution pattern of land use in 2030. The results showed that the land use types in Hohhot City changed significantly from 2000 to 2020, and the biggest change took place in cultivated land, grassland, shrub, and artificial surface. The decrease of cultivated land area and the increase of artificial surface area were the main impact trend of land use change. The average value of habitat quality had been decreasing continuously from 2000 to 2020, and the values of habitat degradation were 0.2605, 0.2494, and 0.2934 in 2000, 2010, and 2020, respectively, showing a decreasing trend. The decrease of habitat quality was caused by the needs of economic development and urban construction, as well as the impact of land occupation. During this evolution, many cultivated land and urban grassland had been converted into construction land. The simulated land use changes in 2030 are basically the same as those during 2000-2020, and the habitat quality will still be declining. The regional changes are influenced by the urban rapid development and industrial layout. These results can provide decision-making reference for regional urban planning and management as well as habitat quality evaluation.

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Wind regimes and associated sand dune types in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert, China
MENG Nan, WANG Nai'ang, ZHAO Liqiang, NIU Zhenmin, SUN Jiaqi
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 473-489.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0063-3
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Wind controls the formation and development of sand dunes. Therefore, understanding the wind regimes is necessary in sand dune research. In this study, we combined the wind data from 2017 to 2019 at four meteorological stations (Cherigele and Wuertabulage stations in the lake basins, and Yikeri and Sumujilin stations on the top of sand dunes) in the hinterland of the Badain Jaran Desert in China, with high resolution Google Earth images to analyze the correlation between the wind energy environments and dune morphology. The results of data analysis indicated that both the wind direction and sand drift intensity exhibited notable spatial and temporal variations. The highest level of wind activity was observed in spring. Northwesterly and northeasterly winds were the dominant in the Badain Jaran Desert. At the Cherigele, Wuertabulage, and Yikeri stations, the drift potential (DP) was below 200.00 vector units (VU). The wind energy environments in most areas could be classified as low-energy environments. The resultant drift direction differed at different stations and in different seasons, but the overall direction was mainly the southeast. The resultant drift potential (RDP)/DP ratio was greater than 0.30 in most parts of the study area, suggesting that the wind regimes mainly exhibited unimodal or bimodal characteristics. Differences between the thermodynamic properties and the unique landscape settings of lakes and sand dunes could alter the local circulation and intensify the complexity of the wind regimes. The wind regimes were weaker in the lake basins than on the top of sand dunes. Transverse dunes were the most dominant types of sand dunes in the study area, and the wind regimes at most stations were consistent with sand dune types. Wind was thus the main dynamic factor affecting the formation of sand dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert BJD. The results of this study are important for understanding the relationship between the wind regimes and aeolian landforms of the dune field in the deserts.

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Changes in diversity, composition and assembly processes of soil microbial communities during Robinia pseudoacacia L. restoration on the Loess Plateau, China
WANG Kun, WANG Xiaoxia, FEI Hongyan, WAN Chuanyu, HAN Fengpeng
Journal of Arid Land    2022, 14 (5): 561-575.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-022-0064-2
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Robinia pseudoacacia L. (RP) restoration has increased vegetation cover in semi-arid regions on the Loess Plateau of China, but ecological problems have also occurred due to RP restoration, such as reduced soil moisture. Further, it is still uncertain how microbial diversity, composition and assembly processes change with RP restoration in semi-arid regions. Therefore, amplicon sequencing of small subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (16S rRNA) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) genes was performed to study soil bacterial and fungal diversity, composition and assembly processes at four study sites with different stand ages of RP plantations (Y10, RP plantation with stand ages less than 10 a; Y15, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 15 a; Y25, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 25 a; and Y40, RP plantation with stand ages approximately 40 a) along a 40-a chronosequence on the Loess Plateau. The diversity of soil bacteria and fungi increased significantly during the restoration period from 10 to 15 a (P<0.05). However, compared with Y15, bacterial diversity was lower at Y25 and Y40, and fungal diversity remained stable during the restoration period between 25 and 40 a. The relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Ascomycota increased during the restoration period from 10 to 15 a. Conversely, after 15 a of restoration, they both decreased, whereas the relative abundances of Actinomycetes, Acidobacteria and Basidiomycota gradually increased. The variations in soil bacterial communities were mainly related to changes in soil total nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen and moisture contents, while soil fungal communities were mainly shaped by soil organic carbon and nitrate nitrogen contents. Bacterial communities were structured by the heterogeneous selection and stochastic process, while fungal communities were structured primarily by the stochastic process. The RP restoration induced an increase in the relative importance of heterogeneous selection on bacterial communities. Overall, this study reveals the changes in microbial diversity, community composition and assembly processes with RP restoration on the Loess Plateau and provides a new perspective on the effects of vegetation restoration on soil microbial communities in semi-arid regions.

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Reducing water and nitrogen inputs combined with plastic mulched ridge-furrow irrigation improves soil water and salt status in arid saline areas, China
LI Cheng, WANG Qingsong, LUO Shuai, QUAN Hao, WANG Naijiang, LUO Xiaoqi, ZHANG Tibin, DING Dianyuan, DONG Qin'ge, FENG Hao
Journal of Arid Land    2021, 13 (8): 761-776.   DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0015-3
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Plastic mulched ridge-furrow irrigation is a useful method to improve crop productivity and decrease salt accumulation in arid saline areas. However, inappropriate irrigation and fertilizer practices may result in ecological and environmental problems. In order to improve the resource use efficiency in these areas, we investigated the effects of different irrigation amounts (400 (I1), 300 (I2) and 200 (I3) mm) and nitrogen application rates (300 (F1) and 150 (F2) kg N/hm2) on water consumption, salt variation and resource use efficiency of spring maize (Zea mays L.) in the Hetao Irrigation District (HID) of Northwest China in 2017 and 2018. Result showed that soil water contents were 0.2%-8.9% and 13.9%-18.1% lower for I2 and I3 than for I1, respectively, but that was slightly higher for F2 than for F1. Soil salt contents were 7.8%-23.5% and 48.5%-48.9% lower for I2 than for I1 and I3, but that was 1.6%-5.5% higher for F1 than for F2. Less salt leaching at the early growth stage (from sowing to six-leaf stage) and higher salt accumulation at the peak growth stage (from six-leaf to tasseling stage and from grain-filling to maturity stage) resulted in a higher soil salt content for I3 than for I1 and I2. Grain yields for I1 and I2 were significantly higher than that for I3 and irrigation water use efficiency for I2 was 14.7%-34.0% higher than that for I1. Compared with F1, F2 increased the partial factor productivity (PFP) of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 80%. PFP was not significantly different between I1F2 and I2F2, but significantly higher than those of other treatments. Considering the goal of saving water and nitrogen resources, and ensuring food security, we recommended the combination of I2F2 to ensure the sustainable development of agriculture in the HID and other similar arid saline areas.

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